Historic Houses, Heritage Sites and Organisations

Any major heritage site will have a huge range of jobs, from the Property Manager at the top (a job which requires considerable maturity, administrative and management experience) and down through many ranks of support staff. 

The National Trust and English Heritage

The National Trust manages or owns a large number of heritage sites, not only historic buildings but also vast acreages of grounds which will require traditional agricultural and horticultural management. Jobs available will include administrators, conservators, wardens, housekeeping staff, visitor information and ticket-selling staff, shop and café staff, gardeners and more. The Trust also has regional offices which include the usual range of office staff, and also education staff, personnel management, press and public relations people etc. Full details of National Trust vacancies can be found on their website, there is no ‘quick click' route to these, but if you type the word ‘vacancies' into the site search engine, you should get all the information you need on the types of jobs available.

The National Trust also runs an apprenticeship scheme for horticultural/grounds workers - they call it ‘careership', so if you are a school leaver with an interest in both history and horticulture, you might like to ring their information line, 0344 800 1895, for more information. Trainees get a chance to live and work in some very beautiful places!

English Heritage of course also manages a large number of properties and offers a range of jobs, but they do not currently have comprehensive national information easily available on a website. Everything is done regionally, with vacancies usually advertised in local papers. You could also try contacting the personnel department of your regional English Heritage office. In addition, there are of course hundreds of privately owned ‘stately homes', heritage sites and historic buildings in the UK, which again will use a range of staff. Vacancies in these will usually be advertised locally.

Volunteering Opportunities:

The National Trust website has a click on ‘volunteering' section which allows you to select from a range of opportunities, for example: local, full time, and working holidays. If you select ‘local' you can type in your postcode and the site will find volunteering opportunities within a 10m. radius of your home. It will list the types of jobs volunteers do (e.g. staffing shop and admissions desk, acting as tour guides, participating in living history days) and the days and times when they are needed. Also check out local historic houses, volunteer bureaux and keep an eye out for adverts in newspapers and sites like The Guardian. Some historic houses and heritage sites use costumed volunteers in the summer months. If this is an area that interests you, you might like to join a re-enactment group - for information on these, contact the National Association of Re-enactment Societies. Their site gives information on local member groups.

Heritage Organisations and Charities

In addition to the National Trust and English Heritage there are other organisations looking after specific areas of heritage and history. You can find these online or by looking through the Directory of British Associations at your local library. Unfortunately, most of these Societies and Associations, like the Historical Association, manage with a very small staff and a lot of committed volunteers, so vacancies are seldom available. If you have a particular area of interest, however, it might be worthwhile to join the relevant Association, both for interesting activities, updates and information, and for the networking opportunities these provide.

Work Experience and Volunteering:

Opportunities vary from place to place. The problem tends to be that staff time is needed to organise work for volunteers, train and induct them, and make them feel at home – and this time just may not be available if the organisation has a very small staff. However, some are desperate for volunteers, especially to handle clerical and office jobs like mailshots to members, or to use their skills and talents in areas such as fundraising. Most are kind enough to give you advice on who else you might approach, if they cannot use you.

See also our page on Heritage Management and Education courses

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